Here's another story idea I couldn't get out of my head.
For those waiting eagerly for my others, sorry. I just needed a break and this came to me while I was reading the books. I don't expect a lot to come of this, and it won't be me top priority, but It's festered in my brain and needs to come out.
I am still working on my others, mainly my HP/Ranma story Magic vs. Martial Arts, and my Farscape/ST:TNG story Displacement of Time and Space. I am slowly fleshing out more for my other storys, Two Tiger's Tales, a Ranma/Garg/SF/other xover, and getting some ideas together for the sequel to State of Mine and a follow up to Introductions and Farewells(Babylon 5 story). I am also currenlty writting a Witchblade/Xmen xoover.
So for all my readers, please don't worry if you're reading this and find it's not what you thought it would be. I am working on my stories. Just, sometimes, I get creative spurts that throw out a lot of stuff in a short time, and then nothing for a while. I can promise that this time, it won't be as long as it was the last time(no more 4-5 months between updates. a week, 2 tops)
This story is a xover of David Eddings works of Belgariad/Mallorean and Elenium/Tamuli series. I love those books. I've read the 5 from belgariad more then 30x each, and the mallorean at least dozen times. And the Elenium/Tamuli books I've likely read nearly a dozen times each.
There are a lot of similarities between the two series, and it always struck me in the back of my mind that Eddings did it on purpose to possibly write a future novel connecting the two series.
Aphreal shot up with a short cry of alarm. She could feel the aproach of a dark force. Something hideous and powerful and unkown to her. Yet she also felt the aproach of a force for good. A sense of will and determination beyond any her immortal mind could comprehend. A feeling of such strength and force that it was powerful enough to wake her from a sound sleep and shake her enough to lose focus and shift to her true form in place of her now teenage Danae body.
There were no details in her mind, just those two powerful, opposing feelings of Dark and Light comming to face each other for an innevitable confrontation. The only image clear in her mind was of a blue jewel, and spherical jewel of deepest blue, shinning forth a powerful light. It reminded her strongly of Bheliom, but the feeling from the sphere was less belligerent. It seemed almost playful and innocent, though also vindictive and strict. It was attached to something, something she couldn't quite make out. It was the center of the coming conflict, as both the force of Darkness she felt, and the force of Light, were projecting it's image powerfully into her mind.
She slowly shifted from her glowing adult form to her childlike form of Flute, before slipping out of bed. She looked at the empty bed for a moment, and frowned. She concentrated and her body seemed to become shapeless. It split into two and soon 14year old Princess Danae was studying a roughly 6-7year old Flute.
"I think you should go get father and have him come to the chapterhouse. I'll go see the family and visit with the Elene god." Flute stated in her high voice.
Danae nodded and smiled at the child. "I hope he's not too mad at us for stealing Talen." she stated with a sly smirk.
Flute rolled her eyes at her older doppleganger. "I still don't get what you like about him so much."
Danae giggled. "It's not something anyone your age would understand, Flute. I sure am glad I got father to assign him as my bodyguard. I've been able to keep an eye on him and warn off the other girls from him."
Flute again rolled her eyes, and then stuck her tongue out at the other girl. "I'm not sure why you want to get married, it seems a bit bothersome to me. All that kissing and loveydovey talk."
Danae giggled again. "Don't worry Flute. Once we're joined again, you'll understand why again too. Any way, go. That sending was incredibly powerful and I doubt if nobody else felt it. I wouldn't be surprised if several of the Thousand or some of the Knights didn't feel it."
Flute nodded, turned and disappeared while Danae took a moment to make sure of her appearance in the mirror, running her brush through her shoulder length hair. her father would no doubt call for those of his friends who were near, and that meant that Talen would be there. And she would not hinder her pursuit of the Pandion novice/thief by allowing him to see her at less then her best until after their wedding night.
As she slid out the door and down the hall to her parent's apartments, trailed aas always by the night guard that stood outside her door. Before waking her parents however, a thought came to the sometimes Goddess' mind. "Maybe I should have sent an older version of myself to see Eriond. He's the oldest and most powerful of us and we might need his intervention to deal with this new threat. And he dislikes my usual methods." she frowned, then shrugged. "Oh well, too late now. He'll just have to deal with me as Flute is."
In the silence of the forest, few night creatures were stirring. There was a foreign presence shutting down the usual night time activities of the creatures who dwelt here. Something unusual and unnatural was prowling the usually busy forest and the native population was hidding in fear. There was an unsettling aura being projected by the new resident that stalked through the undergrowth.
A grey, lowslung form crawled foreward on it's four legs. It's nose was held close to the ground, and it's shaggy tail was sweeping the ground behind it. Occassionaly, the great muzzled head would rise up and glance to each side before lowering back to the ground.
Wolves were not native to this part of the country, and any woodsmen who saw it's tracks would fear the worste. Panic would spread, and traps and hunters would come out in force. So the wolf was forced to move carefully, and erase it's presence from the minds of the men and other intelligent beings it passed. Luckily, this was not a normal wolf, which made this task much easier.
The wolf was hunting, but not for food. It searched for something it had lost long ago, and needed if it was to find peace. It had wandered the world in this form for longer then most could comprehend, usually remaining far beyond any of the lands of men and feeding on the near immortal trolls of the northern lands. It had felt the stirring of great power and a familiar tingling it had not felt in more centuries then there were teeth in it's mouth. It had rejoiced at the feeling, but it's hopes dashed as it felt the withdrawal of the power from the world.
Now it sought the last traces of the missing power, in hopes of somehow calling it back for a final use. The wolf was weary of it's long, lonely life. It had outlived all the members of it's pack, and made the former pack-leader's long life seem nothing more then a blink of time compared to it's own. It had lived easily 5 time's the former pack-leader's 10 millenia, and could find no rest, even as it had watched his pack mates give themselves up into oblivion's embrace. It had lived for so long with no hope of rest and wished nothing more then to find peace in eternal sleep, but had grown too powerful for the normal means to aid his hopes. It needed the lost power to overcome it's ingrained will to survive.
The wolf paused as it's sensitive nose caught the scent of approaching men. The men were wearing armor and carrying steel, and travelled through the woods nearly as silently as the wolf itself.
Curious inspite of it's own apathy, the wolf decided to follow the men. They carried with them the scent of dried blood, and not animal scent either. These were not hunters out for the evening. At least, not hunters of pelts or food. These were hunters of men, and had a prey they sought.
Tracking the man scent and racing ahead, he caught another scent trail. This was similar to that of the hunters, but there was more metal, and he could also smell the strong odor of horses. The hunters had only feint traces of the horse-odor, so chances where they had left their horses a day or so behind and proceeded the rest of the way after these other men on foot.
There was only two men in the small encampent. One was a huge man reminding the wolf of long dead friends. The other was a smaller, but still large man. Each was wearing the light armor and gear of hunters, though the wolf's keen senses could detect that there was a great deal more armor in the packs by the horses. He tracked back to the hunters and found them spreading through the woods around the small camp. He counted fifteen of them and wondered what was so special about the two men that the hunters felt they needed to outnumber then at more then 7 to 1.
Deciding to watch unless he was needed, the wolf trotted between two of the hunters, using his special talents to remain unseen eveh though he came close enough that should he have desired, he could have ripped both mens throats out.
The wolf moved to a spot where he'd have a clear view of the proceedings and sat on his haunches to watch. He'd had a lot of time to watch as he waited for a chance to find peace.
Sir Ulath and Sir Tynian were conversing quietly in front of their evening fire while their day's catch rested on the spit over the flames. They had already eaten their fill for the night, but would allow the banked coals to warm the meat overnight so they could have fresh meat in the morning. Then they would scatter the remainder of the carcass of the small boar into the forest for the creatures to finish off.
"This has been a pleasant trip, Tynian. It is good to be travelling with you again." Ulath stated before drinking deeply from a wineskin he then passed to his brother knight.
"Yes it has, Ulath. I'm glad you were able to come. I tried a few of the others, but they all had various duties that kept them from coming."
"Did you reach Kring?"
Tynian chuckled and stirred the coals of the fire. "Yes, but he and Mirtai are busy with their second child. And a little project of Mirtai's among the Peloi."
Curious, Ulath glanced around the small clearing. Something was nagging him, but he couldn't sense any danger. His eyes met those of a great wolf, and he paused. The wolf stared at him and he waited, not wanting to provoke the magnificient animal. It was easily the largest wolf he'd ever seen, and he thought it looked familiar. Not as though he'd seen it before, but something about it, it's size and presence tickled his memories. He was surprised when the wolf nodded and seemed to fade from sight back into the darkness beyond the fire.
Blinking, he turned back to Tynian and took the bait. "What project?" he asked idly, pulling his boar spear to him and taking out a flat stone, some oil and a rag. He progressed to sharpening the broad bload, his hand running the wetstone at a 45 degree angle along one side then the other of the edge.
"Mirtai's become something of a legend among the Peloi. You know how they are. Some fool got it in his head to challenge her, and after she thrashed him, his friends took exception and went after her. After she'd beat them all off, word spread and others left her alone, letting her do things as she wished. Kring of course was immensely pleased and proud of her. Not long after, some of the Peloi woman brought their young girls and boys to Mirtai, begging her to teach them her skills. So she's now got about 40 of the little ones, from ages 4 to 14, all learning-and living- the martial life of Atans. And Kring it seems, has managed to convince the Atans that horses aren't as worthless as they'd believed. So now, he's breeding ever larger horses and teaching a section of Atan and Atanna youth to become cavalry."
Ulath gave a fake shudder at the words. "By all the gods, that is an awful thought! Atan Cavalry? They're dangerous enough as it is, let along training them to fight on horseback. And think of the sheer size of the horses they must need to be usefull. How could they feed an army of beasts that size without causing famine?"
Tynian shook his head at the thought. "That's something else. Kring's not only breeding a larger horse, he's breeding them to need as much food as normal horses, and to be able to last longer without water."
"How he's doing that, I don't want to think about." Ulath stated as he paused in his sharpening to scratch his beard. "Have you heard from any one else, lately? It's been years since we've seen everyone."
Tynian nodded and leaned back to rest his head on his bedroll. "I received word from Bevier. All's going well with him, but his duties with his Church and family stopped him from coming. I also reached Khaled, and he gave me word of what's happening at Cimmuria. Berit's doing well, though he tends to be a bit stiff around Sparhawk. Surprisingly, Talen's turning into a fine novitiate. He's become a skilled swordsman and rider, and filled out a lot since we last saw him. Sadly for him, he's had to give up his former night time hobbies."
"Oh, how's that?" the hulking northerner asked. He turned the blade around, and started on the second edge.
"He's grown into his family. He's too wide shouldered and muscular now to make an effective sneak thief and burglar. From what Khaled says, he's become quite powerful. He still draws though. Khaled sent a few of Talen's latests. Appareantly, Sparhawk got the idea that instead of wasting his artistic talents, they could use them, and they have him drawing works that they sell at various markets. They're using a thin little man as cover though, since no one would believe Talen could do them. They send them to various markets in dangerzones as a means of hidding their order members in plain sight as guards for the little man. Usually, Talen will go with them, and pretend to be the man's bodyguard. From what I understand, though, Danae doesn't like that."
Ulath chuckled. "I can see why. The little princess doesn't want to risk her future husband on such foolishness. I still don't understand why Pandions insist on those little games. I know we don't. If we need to know something, we ask. If we don't like the answers, we break fingers until we learn what we need."
Tynian nodded in the dark. "But from what I understand, Danae's finally got her way. Talen won't be going back out anymore. He's been assigned as the princess' personal bodyguard. Though from what Khaled told me, Sparhawk's been unusually rough lately on our little thief."
Ulath roared with laughter. "I wonder why! Sparhawk probably fears Talen more then he ever feared Kael or Ortha. They only wanted to kill him or steal his soul. Danae wants Talen as her husband and what father any were willingly gives up their little girl to her husband." The large man tested the edge and was satisfied when it cut cleanly through the tough hide of the boar on the spit. He then when to work on the crossbar, making sure it was still sound.
"Speaking from experience, my friend?" Tynian asked.
Ulath grunted. "Never had the chance for family. Too busy fighting evil and beating back trolls and ogres."
Tynian snorted. "I grew up in a large family. It's often a hassle, but there are moments when it's worth it."
Ulath tested the blades, and finding everything satisfactory, he put away his kit and set the broad spear next to him. He took a final slice from the warm carcass of the small boar, and leaned back onto his own bedroll. "Should we set watch?"
Tynian shrugged, then realized that even near the fire, it was too dark for Ulath to see the gesture. "I don't think we need it. There shouldn't be any one around for at least a full day's ride. We picked a great place to come hunting this time, my friend."
Barely were Tynian's words out of his mouth when a screaming throng of men came running out of the woods. The knights barely had time to role out of the way before arrows lodged into their pillows. Ulath reacted first, roaring out with a bellow of his own as he snatched up the spear he'd been sharpening and threw it towards the nearest of the charging men. The broad blade struck the man in the stomach and went through, severing his spine. Trailing guts from it's barbs, it went through, not even stopped by the crossbar until it struck a man following too closely to his fellow and slammed into his stomach until the point stuck out the mans back. For a moment, both men stood, connected by the length of the spear pole before both collapsed.
After throwing the spear, Ulath was weaponless. His axe hung from the saddle of the great bay on a stump near where the horses were tied. Tynian was only slightly more prepared, as he had take nthe habit long ago of sleeping with his sword nearby. Both had also brought bows, but they too were with the horses.
Seeing that his large friend was in need of a weapon, Tynian went for the nearest man, who had paused at seeing two of his compatriots spitted by the powerful throw. He quickly disembowled the man, taking his mace and whistling for Ulath's attention. When the large man glanced at him, he tossed the weapon and watched as the man caught it and turn in one move, crushing the chest of a third man and sending the body crashing into another. A slice of air near his face forced him to focus on his own battle, and he parried a second swing of a rusted blade before running his opponent through. He kicked the body off his blade and brought it up just in time to catch a third swing at his head. Soon he was too busy to worry about his friend in the battle for their lives.
The men continued to attack, despite the quick loss of several of their allies. They might not be the best fighters either had ever faced, but they had numbers on their side, and were more used to pitched battles of the current type then either of the knights, who were far more used to fighting with others of their own nature then each other. It was the main purpose why the orders had assigned Ulath, Tynian, and Bevier to join Sparhawk on his quest to cure the Elanian queen. While Tynian and Ulath had some experience fighting side-by-side, neither was trully comfortable doing so without any one else to aid them. Their fighting styles and training where too different without the moderating of Sparhawk and Berit's Pandion training, or Bevier's training in his chapter.
The were soon back to back, facing a ring of men. There were six dead, but that still left the pair outnumbered. The remaining members of the attckers were obivously the more experienced. They'd likely not had much formal training, but had spent most of their lives living in the rougher parts of the world and were experienced ambush fighters. They were typical brigands and mercenaries, with no affiliation except to gold.
There was pause as the 7 remaining men circled to surround the knights. Ulath and Tynian also moved, trying to keep the fire between them and some of the men. They were the best of their chapters, but they held no illusions. They were in trouble and knew it. They were now able to count the men, and the dead, and wondered why 13 men had attacked the pair of them. Then they checked the dead men and the living, and realized that none of the 13 the could see were carrying bows, yet their bedrolls each contained a couple of arrows. Just as the thought occured to them, two more men stepped from the shadow recesses of the forest into the light cast by their dimming fire. They each had arrows noched and ready, though not quite pulled, as they were waiting for their fellows to move to better positions.
"Well, Tynian. I did promise you an exciting time on this hunt, didn't I?" Ulath asked, holding the captured mace in one hand, and a short sword in the other. One of the men swung, and Ulath blocked it with the mace, hitting the handle of the man's short axe and breaking it. The axe head buried itself in the soft ground and the man backed off. Instead of standing like a fool, the man went over to the pair of men still held together by the board spear, and grabbed the bastard sword the first man had been carrying before returning to fill his spot in the semi circle around the pair.
"I wasn't expecting this much excitement, Ulath. I thought we would be the hunters, not the hunted." Tynian stated drily, blocking a pair of weak swipes from one of the men.
Ulath glanced over to the dead men and the spear. "You know, that was my favorite spear. My father had it made for me when I reached age to join my first hunt. I've had to reshaft it three times, but the blade has been true for more then 25 years. And now, there's no way I'll be able to save it. That second man is wearing chainmail. Weak, rusted, and old, true, but mail nonetheless. Running thorugh that rusted heap would chip and dull the blade to uselessness."
"I'm sure that the men are sorry they made you kill them with it, friend Ulath. Maybe you'll be able to salvage something from their bodies once we've killed the rest of them."
"You won't be killing anyone, Alcione. You and your Genidian friend are dead. And once we've finished you, we're going after the rest of your allies. We've been paid well, and this is only a small sampling of our army. Soon, you church knights and your blasphemous Styric witches will burn." One of the archers, both of who were dressed better then the assorted soldiers, spoke. The archers were also better equiped, and were wearing new armor and the bows were obviously well crafted and cared for. Both archers were tall, well groomed, and the accent was one neither man had ever heard.
Ulath and Tynian exchanged glances and sighs. "Not again. I'm too old for this, friend Tynian."
The blond Alcione snorted. "Just imagine what Sparhawk is going to say when we tell him."
"Enough! Neither of you will be telling any one anything! Except for the example of what will be done to your corpses once you're dead!" shouted the second archer, drawing up the bow and pulling back the string. The first archer copied and both arrows flashed through the air, dead center on Ulath and Tynian's chest.
The knights knew that at this range, and without any armor, there was no chance of the archers missing or the arrows being deflected. They began to say silent prayers as time seemed to slow for the pair. Their time on this world was ended and they prepared for the next.
The arrows had travelled half of the 20 yard distance when a large blurry shape flashed across the visions of all in the clearing. The arrows vanished with the flash and Ulath and Tynian were left standing, staring at the empty air that had seconds before held their imminent death. The faces of the arhcers were equally astonished, and they both quickly drew another arow from their quivers, but froze before drawing back at the sound of a low, throaty growl coming from the trees. All heads turned to face that way, as the men shifted nervously.
The growl grew in intensity as a large grey wolf stalked out of the forest. Clasped in the wolf's teeth was the pair of arrows that had been shot towards the knights. The strong jaws of the huge creature clenched, and the shafts shattered under the pressure. The wolf was easily the largest of it's kind any of those in the clearing had ever seen, been at least twice the normal height at the shoulder then the usual wolf. It looked the size of a coal or large mule, but built more like an oxen with it's wide, powerful shoulders, and thick covering of coarse fur. The teeth, of which none of the men wished to become acquainted, were easily the size of a grown mans finger, and as sharp as any of the blades the men carried.
The wolf stalked forward until it was between the archers and the soldiers. The second archer panicked, and drew and fired an arrow at the wolf. The wolf moved nimbly to one side, then turned it's head and flashed it's powerful jaws, again catching the arrow in mid air. Then, in an incredible display, the head spun, and the shaft flew back towards the archer, easily piercing the thick leather armor and through the man's upper arm.
Ulath blinked and turned to his old friend as the man's cries of pain filled the clearing. "Did I just see what I thought I saw?"
Tynian also blinking in shock, nodded. "Um, if you think what you just saw was a wolf the size of a small horse first catch, and then throw back an arrow with enough force to pierce through well made plate leather armor and a man's arm over thirty feet away, then yes, Ulath, you did indeed just see what you thought you saw. And I think I saw it too."
The first archer was staring at the wolf in fear, while the second continued to swear and moan in painfilled wails. Blinking back as the wolf seemed to grin and wink at him, the archer drew a shaft and pointed it at the wolf. "I don't know what you are, demon, but if you side with those foul creatures, then you too will burn. Kill them all!" he cried, loosing the arrow and notching a second. The men shook out of their shock and turned back to Tynian and Ulath, but the knights were faster. Before any of the men could threaten the pair, two more were dead, and a second pair were only partially able to block the strikes.
Tynian's blade missed the torso, and sliced off his opponent's left arm. Ulath's short sword was blocked by his man's blade, but the mace found it's mark in shattering a few ribs. Both of the men screamed with pain, and the knights ended their pain with quick backswipes of their blades, coming near to decapitating the injured men.
Now it was the three swordsmen against the pair of knights, and the archer who continued to fire arrows at the wolf, who just as easily caught them and tossed them aside. The second archer was currently whimpering in pain from his knees, clutching the bleeding wound.
Ulath and Tynian grinned ferally to each other as they studied the now trembling trio. "Well friend Tynian, it seems we have a quandary here. There are now four of them and two of us. I believe I have a 1 man lead, and you would need to kill three of the four to win this round. But, I'm feeling generous. I'll allow you to kill two, and will kill only the one myself. We can split the fourth. That would make this round a tie."
"That is right, my friend, but I think you forget something." Tynian said as he lazily blocked a wild swing from one of the remaining men. Nearby, he could see Ulath toying with the other two.
"What's that, my pious brother?" Ulath called back, using both weapons to block the weak and wild attacks of the pair of smaller men he was facing.
"I think our friend the wolf would like to join our little contest." he stated as he nodded towards the archer and wolf. The archer had notched and drew back the last arrow. His attention mostly on the silent confrontation, he blocked a thrust, then made two quick swipes, opening his opponents throat then slicing between the ribs into the heart. He then walked over to the pair Ulath was fighting, and stabbed one through the back, killing him quickly. Spoiled of his fun, Ulath caught the last attacker's wrist, and crushed his skull with the mace.
Together, they turned back to the challenge between the animal and the wolf.
Mika deLancour was not a squeamish or fearful man. He'd reveled in debauchery since the day his father gave him his first sword, a bow, and a serf to practice on. He'd gone through many of each on his way to mastering the blade and bow. He'd hunted the world once he'd grown bored of killing helpless men, seeking new entertainments and pleasure in his bland and dull life as his father's heir. He'd hunted the most dangerous creatures known to man, and had never felt fear.
It was not until this night, when a simple assignment from his father's Lord sent him to this clearing chasing down a pair of supposedly drunk and helpless knights that he'd ever feared anything. He respected and honoured his father's dread master, but he'd never feared him before.
Yet, here he was, his aim quavering and his arm shaking as he held the last of his arrows on the largest wolf he had ever seen. It was also the quickest and most agile as he'd never before seen any creature, save a few specially trained acrobats and circus people catch arrows. Anger over powering the rage as he saw the last of his men slaughtered by the knights, he snarled, nearly matching the wolf's own orations and steadied his arm, he let loose, and the wolf leapt forward. He grinned as he watched the arrow strike into the beasts form, piercing just to the left, between the left shoulder and the neck. The arrow bit deeply into the flesh, and straight to the beasts heart.
The wolf crashed to the ground, and he through down the bow, drawing his sabre. Next to him, his companion and current paramour had stopped whining and was now swearing under his breath. He'd also drawn a blade, to dig out the arrow from his arm. Once that was done, he threw down the small dagger, and pulled his rapier before staggering over to join Mika.
"It's the two of us, against the two of you now, knights. We have been trained by the best tutors and swordsmiths in 4 continents. You stand no chance. Your pathetic orders could never have prepared you for our skills."
The knights glanced at each other and began chuckling. Soon though they were doubled over in laughter.
Angered beyond words, Mika and Ginta started forward, only to freeze as the still, dead form of the wolf rose to its feet. Eyes wide with fear, they started to back away. They started to turn to run, but something shimmered in the air around the growling wolf. The arrow was still sticking out of it's body, as with a faint shimmer and blueish glow, the wolf was replaced with the standing form of a nude man. The man was young, still with traces of youth about his face, but with the presence and comfortable ease of self of a grown man. Though his body and face were young, the man's eyes were deep and clear. They seemed to hold the passage of ages within their endless depths. They were the eyes of a man who'd outlived all he'd cared for and who'd dealt more then his own fare share of death. Not even his nudity in the slightly chilled air could detract from the sheer power radiating off him. The pair of mercenaries dropped their weapons and fell to their knees, staring as the naked man approached them.
The man walked forward until he was only a half dozen feet from the pair. His face was set in a frown as he studied them. His head would tilt from side to side as he stared at the trembling pair. He looked around the clearing, not seeming concerned at all by his nudity. He stared for a moment at each of the dead bodies, then the knights, before shaking his head, causing his long dirty blonde hair to wave around his shoulders. His frown deepered for a moment, and then he closed his eyes. The aura of power around him intensified, and for a moment, Tynian and Ulath were certain that one of Aphreal's relatives had arrived. There was a bright flash, and the four onlookers had to turn their heads.
When they looked back, the man was fully clothed, if in a rather outdated manner of dress. On his back, there seemed to be a rather large sword, looking heavier then a normal man could lift. The man turned back to the groveling pair, who were now convinced that they were facing a demon. Through out all this, the arrow remained lodged in his chest, in the exact spot on a man that it would be for a wolf.
Ulath and Tynian had quietly made their way to the horses, grabbing their shields and Ulath his proper weapons. They then slowly and quietly made their way so that they too stood in the odd man's line of sight. The man noticed them, and opened his mouth to speak, but blood poured out of it. He closed his mouth and scowled down at the pair. He then reached up and grasped the arrow's shaft, pulling sharply. Tynian tried to sound out for him to stop, as the arrow head was barbed, but the man drew the sharp, spiked arrow from his chest before the knight could sound out the first breath.
Ulath and Tynian winced as a stream of flesh and gore were riped out of the man's chest. Even the man's rib was pulled out by the barbs and was sticking out of his chest. Neither could understand how the man could even stand let alone continue to live with such a grievous injury. They could see the pulsing flesh of the man's heart and the slow inflation and deflation of his lung.
The man stared down at his own chest, then snorted, sending a spray of blood over the two prostrate forms. He brought his hand up to his chest, covering the wound. A small sound escaped, and there was another sensation of flowing power shaking Tynian and Ulath. The man withdrew his hand, and though it was still bloody, they could see that the wound was healed.
"Now, that's better." the man said in a voice that was obviously long unused. "Any one want to tell me what was going on here?" he asked looking down at the men who'd lead the ambush.
In the remotest parts of the world, and in the most populous, all those sensitive to the nature of the world shot awake, gasping in amazement at the presence they all felt. Some cowered in fear, and others quivered in anticipation. From various parts of this, and other worlds, the gods were shaken from their playful celebrations and mindless pursuits by the raw power that flickered through their vast conciousness. As one, they all stepped from their own inner worlds to a meeting place in the greater world, each fearing the worst. Only one god felt the power and was not appalled. This god, often considered the most bland and restrictive by his relatives did something that the others had never seen. He smiled like a child and let out an echoing belly laugh that caused minor quakes through the mountainous region of their meeting place.
Aphreal, somewhat considered as among the flightiest of the gods, stared in shock as the staid and proper god of the Elene church started rolling on the ground in laughter. "Brother? What's going on? I- We've never seen you like this." she asked, concerned for the eldest of the younger gods. It was wildly rumored that the Elene god had even been around before the Older gods and even before the Troll gods.
The man seemed to gather himself, and he stood, the air seemingly to solidify with dignity, as though he'd never behaved so unusually. He smiled down at the beautiful goddess, who was in her true form. He felt almost guilty about withholding the information he possessed, but it was not his place to tell. "Don't worry, little sister. Every thing is all right now. But I suspect, that that danger you felt, is much closer then you ever expected." His face was still filled with joy, something that seemed out of place on the normally stern visage.
"If that's so, brother, then why are you so . . . happy?" Aphreal asked in confusion.
Eriond's smile grew widder. "Because the source of the Light you felt is also closer then you think, my child." Eriond leaned over and kissed the Child Goddess' golden tresses before calmly going over to a nervous looking group of his siblings.
Aphreal frowned, the expression appearing almost angelic on her mature face. "I hate it when he's cryptic like that." she muttered to herself.